DUBLIN, OH (WCMH) — Determined is just one word to describe Matthew McClish, who has had quite the journey since suffering seizures in elementary school. The first one came in the second grade.
“It kept happening. In second and third grade and then fourth grade,” said McClish. “We ended up having an MRI and it showed a brain tumor.”
That diagnosis led Matthew to endure multiple major brain surgeries in the years that followed. On November 16th, 2017, the doctors finally removed all of the tumor. But during the surgery, Matthew suffered a stroke, leaving him without movement on his left side and taking away half of his eyesight.
“It’s not fun going in, waking up and not being able to move. That’s not fun,” said McClish.
But through all the health challenges, Matthew stayed positive and stayed focused, including on his love of golf. He was playing golf prior to the 2017 stroke and earned all-county honors while playing for West Jefferson High School. After the stroke, some doctors thought he may not even walk again, let alone golf. But months later, he was back on the course for his senior season, with a one-handed swing.
“It has its ups and downs. I’ll hit good shots and say, why can’t I do that every time? But I have good shots and I have bad shots but I’m still working hard at it,” said McClish.
And because of his courage and drive, he was selected as this year’s Nicklaus Youth Spirit Award winner, given to him by Jack and Barbara Nicklaus.
“They’ve taught me not to give up and to help others. That’s what they’re doing. They’re helping others through [Nationwide Children’s Hospital]. They’re amazing, both Jack and Barbara. They treat you like family right when you first meet them,” said McClish.
Now 18 years old, Matthew serves as an inspiration to the power of believing in yourself.
“One thing I always think about is challenges make life interesting but overcoming them makes life meaningful,” said McClish. “I have overcome almost everything and that has made my life meaningful cause I get to do all this stuff and meet all these people. I’ve gotten really lucky.”
Matthew graduated from West Jefferson last week and plans to study at Wright State University in the fall.